We took the scenic highway US 31 heading to the Upper Peninsula today. Traverse City is the hub of this area of Michigan with big retail stores, services, and traffic, and more. We drove along Grand Traverse Bay and passed the old Great Lakes Maritime Academy where Stephen studied. When the bay disappeared from sight, we came to Acme. Then a country view of cherry tree orchards, farms with sunflower fields filled our vision. I could only imagine the beautiful scenery in spring when cherry trees are in bloom. The yellow sunflowers were all loaded with seeds.
Soon we passed Elk Rapids. I only caught a glimpse of the aqua water of Elk Lake. This was where Stephen and his family spent the summer when they were very little. We stopped at a roadside park by Birch Lake. Sitting on the picnic table with the view of the lake in the balmy sun was wonderful. We passed the 45th Parallel – halfway between North Pole and the Equator – for the third time in two days. The other two times happened along US 22 on the Leelanau Peninsula. When we were approaching Eastport, Stephen pointed at a small store by the road and told me it was Brownwood Cherry Juice. That was the tart cherry concentrate he used to buy at the grocery store.
The colorful petunias edging each side of the street stretched for miles in beautiful Charlevoix. The marina on Lake Charlevoix was crowded with yachts. A nice bike trail system connects Charlevoix and Petoskey. People were cycling along the bike trail. North of Charlevoix, the road hugged the shore and we had a good view of Little Traverse Bay. A roadside park sits right by the bay. When we got close to Petoskey, resorts, golf clubs, yacht clubs started to show along the road. Petoskey is another charming resort community. We were awed at the elaborated gables and decorative cornices of the Victorian houses at the Bay View community. It has more than 500 Victorian “cottages.” One glimpse of the house by the road made me want to spend a day taking photos of these beautiful houses. But we had to keep going. That wrapped up our travel along the Cherry Orchards Drive.
Crossing the deep blue water via magnificent Mackinac Bridge, we were in the Upper Peninsula. We stopped at the famous Lehto’s Pasties which has been in business since 1947, and picked up a genuine UP pasty. A pasty is a pillow shaped baked food with fillings. The pasty we bought had a thin layer of nice golden crust with the fillings of beef, potato, rutabaga and onion. An easy and delicious dinner for two. At last, we arrived at Brevoort Lake Campground.